The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is a non-departmental public body set up in 2005 with the purpose to operate, decommission and clean-up of 171 of the UK’s civil nuclear power or research sites on behalf of the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
It is also responsible for implementing the government’s strategy for the long-term disposal of nuclear waste in a geological disposal facility, and for the implementation of the low-level waste strategy.
The NDA is responsible for tackling the legacy of waste from the UK’s nuclear programme that has accumulated since the late 1940s. In discharging this responsibility, the NDA expends some £3 billion on an annual basis and manages gross liabilities of £60 billion. The largest component of the NDA’s liabilities is the nuclear provision which represents the NDA’s best estimate of the costs of delivering its objective of decommissioning its nuclear sites and returning these sites to agreed end states over more than a hundred years.
NDA’s activities in 2012-13 were funded via grant-in-aid of £3,157 million, drawn down from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (the Department) and surrendered cash receipts to the Consolidated Fund of £1,085 million. Elements of the provision also represent the costs of delivering on a number of commercial reprocessing contracts with UK and International customers.
The achievement of agreed end states for the sites is dependent on several factors including: the engineering complexity of the sites; historical neglect and poor record keeping; future availability of nuclear expertise and supply chain; changes in technology; and, the creation of a very long-term disposal facility to house the sites’ higher activity waste which may stay radioactive for many hundreds of years.